Pay Freeze to Continue Through March

The president has signed another continuing appropriations resolution to fund the government for another few months. It means that the existing pay freeze for federal employees will continue.

It is not a shock or even a surprise to those who pay attention to what is going on with regard to federal pay and benefits but here is the bad news for those who may have been hoping for a pay raise. (See Extended Pay Freeze One Step Closer to Reality) On Friday, September 28, President Obama signed the continuing appropriations resolution that authorizes the government to spend money for another six months. It is called the “Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013” and it replaces the previous continuing appropriation resolution passed earlier this year. It continues funding the government until late in March 2013.

President Obama previously announced that federal employees will get a pay raise when Congress passes a budget. This new legislation is not a budget—it is just a continuing resolution. (No Pay Raise Until Congress Passes a Budget) Call it what you wish but, in effect, it means that the existing pay freeze for federal employees will remain in effect, probably until the Spring of 2013. We do not, of course, know what will happen after that time.

The political reality is that with national elections coming up in November, there is little incentive for either political party to create a possible campaign issue for the other side. The result is a stalemate. The House, which is controlled by Republicans has passed numerous bills but the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, will generally not pass or even vote on the more substantive legislation that comes from the House.

So, until American voters decide in which direction they wish to see the country move in the next election, and we see which party will occupy the White House and the two Houses of Congress, very little will be done.

The current pay freeze started in January 2011. It could be worse as there has not been a freeze on other raises such as promotions, within-grade increases or performance awards but, without a doubt, many in the federal workforce are not happy about not getting a raise.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47